Will this be the nastiest presidential race in history?

Top Story 7/13


This is a RUSH transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," July 13, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

Watch "The O'Reilly Factor" weeknights at 8 p.m. and 11 p.m. ET!

JUAN WILLIAMS, FNC HOST: Let's get right to our "Top Story". Will this be the nastiest presidential race in history? It's heading in that direction as both campaigns are stepping up the attacks. In a call with reporters, President Obama's Deputy Campaign Manager Stefanie Cutter suggested Mitt Romney lied about when he stopped working at Bain Capital the private equity company that Romney helped to found.


CUTTER: Either Mitt Romney through his own words and his own signature was misrepresenting his position at Bain to the SEC, which is a felony; or he was misrepresenting his position at Bain to the American people to avoid responsibility for some of the consequences of his investments.


WILLIAMS: Harsh rhetoric, Team Romney is demanding an apology from Mr. Obama saying his staff is out of control and has hit a new low. And the Governor didn't stop there. In a rebuttal to claims that he outsourced jobs while at Bain, Romney released this ad.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When the President doesn't tell the truth, how can we trust him to lead? The Obama outsourcing attacks misleading, unfair and untrue. There was no evidence that Mitt Romney shipped jobs overseas. Candidate Obama lied about Hillary Clinton.

HILLARY CLINTON, SECRETARY OF STATE: So shame on you, Barack Obama.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But America expects more from a president. Obama's dishonest campaign, another reason America has lost confidence in Barack Obama.


WILLIAMS: With both campaigns claiming the other is lying, we need a good, thorough fact check to set the records straight. With me now Bernard Whitman a Democratic strategist and from Nashville, Chip Saltsman, a Republican strategist.

Chip, let me begin with you. This is the -- in response to the ad that you just saw coming from the Romney camp, the Obama people are saying this is part of what they call, quote, "The big Bain lie". What's going on here, Chip?

CHIP SALTSMAN, FORMER HUCKABEE PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN MANAGER: Well you know and maybe in Chicago-style politics to call somebody a felon is just a slow Friday afternoon. But in presidential politics I think it does dictate this is going to be a nasty, mean campaign.

And I think as we kind of continually see what's happening, every time there's a -- a bit of bad news like we did in the jobs report this week, the Obama campaign punches back on Bain. If there was good news for Romney campaign which is his fundraising numbers were back were good, they're going to bang on Bain.

And I think what we're going to see is a narrative that's going to unfortunately throughout the long hot summer into the fall they are just going to bang on Bain as many times as they can because they think they've got an issue that matters. I happen to think -- to disagree with them because the jobs and the economy.


WILLIAMS: But hold on -- hold on, but Chip, what we've seen so far in this very nasty campaign -- and this is a hot, nasty episode -- is that the negative ads do seem to have some impact. I don't think they would be doing this if it wasn't swaying voters in swing states.


WILLIAMS: So is it politically effective? You're a guy who was Mike Huckabee's campaign manager what are you saying is it effective, is it working?

SALTSMAN: Well, we took a few shots at Mitt Romney, too. And we obviously didn't win but neither did Mitt Romney. John McCain did four years ago. But I think Mitt Romney is running a very good campaign this time around. He obviously won a very tough nomination.

And I think the Obama campaign are really maybe overplaying their cards here. Because at the end of the day yes you might want to use Bain to attack to kind of bring into question to voters, you know what kind of businessman this guy was. But at the end of the day, a lot of that seems to be noise because it is about jobs and the economy.

Now the Romney campaign has to explain all of this but at the end of the day it is about jobs and the economy that matter.

WILLIAMS: Bernard Whitman, do you think that this is an effective strategy to go after Bain in such an aggressive way basically say this guy is felon when he signed that SEC form. He was lying.

BERNARD WHITMAN, DEMOCRATIC POLLSTER: Here is the bigger problem. The American people fundamentally do not know who Mitt Romney is. In nine separate filings with the SEC, nine of them, he was listed as the sole stockholder, the Chairman, the CEO and the President through 2002 despite repeatedly saying that he left in 1999 in order to avoid responsibility for some of the disastrous investments and jobs that were lost, bankruptcies that were created, outsourcing that was done between '99 and 2002.

We don't know who this guy is he said he wasn't involved. Records show otherwise.

And to further that, there is other things. He has got secret bank accounts in Switzerland, the Cayman Islands in Bermuda. He won't release his tax returns.


WILLIAMS: All right, all right, ok. Ok.

WHITMAN: It leads up to a larger narrative of the American people are not sure if this guy is telling the truth and fundamentally who is this man?

WILLIAMS: Right. But what we've heard from the Romney campaign is that he was off running the Olympics that this was just perfunctory. He signed the SEC form during that period.


WILLIAMS: But that he was not running the company. What's wrong with that? That's a pretty simple explanation isn't it Bernard.

WHITMAN: I -- I don't know about -- I don't know about you but I think most of the American people when they sign a legal document especially one that's being submitted to the government and they attest they are telling the truth. They make darn well certain that what they say is true.

He signed his name three or he sign his name five -- nine times saying that he in fact was the sole stock owner. And it's hard to make the argument that he had no involvement with the company when he was getting paid a six figure salary as an executive and he was the only one that owned the company. So you can't have it both ways.


Chip, do you think that this -- clearly you just heard from Bernard is the Obama team point. They are driving this like a train going, you know, without brakes. They're going home with this play

SALTSMAN: Every day.

WILLIAMS: So and it is the driving narrative right now of this campaign. So in that sense it puts Romney on the defensive. At least that even if you say you think it's a distraction from the big ticket item the economy, there is no question. This has put Mitt Romney on the defensive. I see Republicans who are now saying why isn't Romney doing a better job of fighting back?

SALTSMAN: Well, I think we're going to see Romney start pushing back on this. Look, I think Mitt Romney is a pretty impressive guy. But there is no way he could have left Boston to run the Salt Lake City and run the Olympics and run Bain Capital. Look it's pretty normal for a CEO or a stockholder to leave a business and go do something else and then receive income from that business several years out, passive income.

That doesn't mean he was running it, it doesn't mean he was calling the shots. He was just receiving passive income from investments he had done many years before. It's pretty normal business, actually.

And I think Romney people have got to come back and push back him on this hard and get control of this narrative.

WILLIAMS: Gentlemen let's take a quick listen to what President Obama says was the biggest mistake of his first term.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The mistake of my first term, a couple of years was thinking that this job was just about getting the policy right and that's important. But you know, the nature of this office is also to tell a story to the American people that gives them a sense of unity and purpose and optimism and especially during tough times.


WILLIAMS: Bernard is that right, the only mistake he made is how to tell the story? Come on that's unbelievable.

WHITMAN: What he said was -- what he said was the biggest mistake he made. And frankly he got it right on policy and here is why -- and here is why I think he's right that he hasn't properly communicate to the American people.

The truth is and the facts are we've had 28 straight months of job growth, 4.4 million jobs including 500,000 manufacturing jobs.

WILLIAMS: Yes but we also have 8.2 percent unemployment.

WHITMAN: Understood.

WILLIAMS: And we have an economy that's very slow to recovering. He was saying that the biggest mistake he made was story telling?

WHITMAN: But -- but what, no but the American people do not understand all the benefits that this President has brought. For example, I don't think most people know that he is responsible for Americans saving $5.5 billion a year in credit card fees. He is responsible for seniors. Hold on -- save $3.5 billion. It's true you don't want to hear the truth.


WILLIAMS: No, I heard it, I've heard. Chip, Chip, do you think story- telling is the big problem of the first four years of Barack Obama?

SALTSMAN: Well, he certainly has told some big stories over the last four years, there's no question. I think he has made a lot more mistakes than that.

WILLIAMS: All right, gentlemen thank you both very much.

Content and Programming Copyright 2012 Fox News Network, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Copyright 2012 CQ-Roll Call, Inc. All materials herein are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of CQ-Roll Call. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content.